Today’s successful B2B sales teams focus on building strong, trusting relationships with buyers before they even think about pitching. It’s only after your prospects truly believe that their success is your priority that they’ll consider closing a deal with you. When consumers regularly receive useful content and insights from you, they naturally begin to trust you and advance towards sales-readiness. Then it’s time for writing a good sales email, but how do you do that?
This type of lead nurturing hinges on the sales rep’s ability to keep the conversation going. But you obviously need to maintain this flow of mutual sharing without pestering anyone to the point of turning them off. So how do you accomplish that? You can only write, “Just wanted to follow up with you” so many times.
When trying to close a sale, the last thing you want to do is leave a bad taste in your customer's mouth by sending constant sales follow-up emails with the same boring message. This can not only ruin your chances of making an immediate sale, but it can also trigger them to speak poorly about your brand and effectively damage your potential to do business in the process.
If you can follow up in a way that isn’t pushy, by instead engaging leads in a transparent, personal and helpful manner, it will strengthen the relationship, build brand equity, keep you top-of-mind, and help advance the buyer along the funnel.
Here are a few powerful techniques for writing follow-up messages that aren’t annoying.
1. Be Genuinely Friendly – Always
Similar to physical interactions, it’s usually pretty easy to read someone’s tone in their emails and social media posts. So when engaging in discussion, be careful with your phrasing and the attitude that you might unintentionally give off.
Far too often, prospects receive notes from irritated sales reps saying things like, “You never responded to my previous email,” or, “Why are you ignoring me?” This will put you on the fast track to not only losing the customer but also earning yourself a bad reputation.
Using certain verbiage can clearly show that you’re frustrated, annoyed or angry, and that’s the last thing you want to do when following up with a potential customer. So instead, try to structure your emails in a way that leaves them thinking that you’re a kind, forgiving and patient person. Be extremely polite throughout the entire interaction – not in a forced way, but in a transparent manner that makes them feel at ease.
Demonstrate that you understand that they’re busy and you’re there for them whenever they need you. They’ll appreciate the sentiment and feel more comfortable reaching out to you when they’re ready. Just like making a new friend, you want to show that you’re a relaxed, friendly and helpful person, and your efforts are genuine. Don’t blow the entire relationship by getting frustrated and being rude one time.
2. Ask Openly if You Should Stop
This may sound like an awkward thing to do, but nowadays when we’ve all grown accustomed to receiving promotional and impersonal messages, your prospects will appreciate your reaching out to them and asking if they want out of the relationship. Maybe it’s to email them less or stop contacting them altogether. Either way, you should ask them openly.
Those with roles that involve processing hundreds of emails and social posts every day will especially appreciate that you provided an opening for them to say they don’t want to hear from you anymore. Since many people strive to be as polite as possible, customers are often afraid to send confrontational emails saying, “Please stop contacting me.” They might even prefer to flag you for spam than endure the discomfort of manually opting out. Sometimes, all that they need is an opportunity to say it without feeling guilty, awkward or pressured.
This goes back to the first point – be polite. Don’t send them a passive-aggressive email saying, “Since you haven’t got back to me in a month, I’ll assume you’re not interested.” Instead, be understanding, relaxed and patient, and allow them to feel comfortable responding in an honest way.
3. Avoid Cookie-Cutter Messaging
Successful sales efforts rest on being personal and adding genuine value to buyers’ daily experiences. Too many reps take the easy route of sending the same boring, unoriginal, cold-call follow-up emails that immediately get moved to the “spam” folder. This sets you up for failure on so many levels.
When it comes to sales and marketing, nowadays attention is currency. If you can keep their attention, you have a much better chance of getting a response and making the sale, which is why you should craft each message as if your entire career depended on it. Do research on each person you connect with, learn more about them, and learn ways that you can help them personally. This type of deep personalization always yields significantly higher response rates.
Say that a potential customer loves Game of Thrones, for example, which you can tell from their Twitter feed. Ask if they’ve watched the latest episode yet, what they thought about it, and if you’re really feeling ambitious, send them a Game of Thrones t-shirt in the mail. This is all fairly easy prep-work, but it can go a long way in terms of building your business relationship together.
It’s All About Relationships
Ultimately, being in constant communication with your leads and customers shouldn’t be a daunting task. Treat each one like a friend – with honesty, kindness, interest and helpfulness – and responses will come fairly easily.
Everyone wants to feel comfortable with their business contacts, and if you approach your prospects in a consistent, transparent, and kind way you won’t have a one-time customer – you’ll have a customer for the foreseeable future.
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